Two sentenced for drugs conspiracy offences - Hampshire
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Two men have been sentenced for their parts in a widespread cocaine supply conspiracy following an investigation by specialist officers from the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU).
Ryan Playford, aged 48, of The Farthings, Warsash, Fareham, was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment at Portsmouth Crown Court today (18/2).
He previously pleaded guilty on 14 September at the same court to:
conspiring to supply a Class A drug – cocaine;
conspiring to supply a Class B drug – cannabis;
Playford today (18/2) also pleaded guilty to:
An offence contrary to Section 44 of the Serious Crime Act in that he intentionally encouraged or assisted the commission of an offence contrary to the Firearms Act 1968.
Playford had also pleaded guilty to a further count of fraud by false representation in relation to a separate incident.
He was sentenced to nine years and nine months’ imprisonment for the cocaine conspiracy offence, six years’ imprisonment for the cannabis conspiracy offence, and one year imprisonment for the fraud, which will all run concurrently. He received five years and three months’ imprisonment for the firearms offence, which will run consecutively to the other sentences.
Martyn McGhee, aged 54, of International Way, Weston, Southampton, was sentenced with Playford. He was sentenced to four-and-a-half years’ imprisonment. He had previously pleaded guilty to conspiring with Playford to supply cocaine.
The court heard Playford had been heavily involved in the supply of large amounts of cocaine and cannabis both in the UK and Europe.
He communicated with other organised criminals using encrypted devices. His messages came to light following the takedown of the encrypted system Encrochat by international law enforcement agencies, known as Operation Venetic. Messages attributed to Playford showed he was involved in the supply of drugs.
He was part of a well-established distribution network and in his messages spoke about laundering the drugs money through the purchase of property in the Netherlands.
It was subsequently established that Martyn McGhee was working for Playford as a courier and was involved in a large scale cocaine deal in Leeds on 21 May 2020. He also used an encrypted device to keep in contact with Playford.
A message Playford sent also stated that he owned a Mercedes which had engine problems and he intended to report it as stolen. This was then reported to police as having been stolen on the 15 May 2020.
Both men were arrested on 7 July last year and subsequently charged in connection with the offences the following day. Detective Inspector Clair Trueman, the senior investigating officer from SEROCU, said: “The actions of Playford and McGhee, who worked together to supply large amounts of drugs across the country, undoubtedly has caused immeasurable suffering to our communities.
“It was evident from the communication between the two that they were significant in causing drug-related harm to those living in the South East and beyond. Playford has also admitted a firearms offence – and we know that the use of such weapons on our streets can have devastating and fatal consequences.
“We will continue our work in seeking to bring to justice organised criminals such as Playford and McGhee to ensure we keep communities safe from harm.”